Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
A friend of mine once encouragingly told me, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Indeed, life is never a bed of roses. We meet with obstacles from time to time. In the face of adversity, different people would react differently. Interestingly, scientific research has provided some evidence that smiling in stressful situations is beneficial to health.
In a study published in the journal, Psychological Science in 2012, two groups of participants were asked to perform two different stressful tasks while holding chopsticks in their mouths. It was reported that all smiling participants had lower heart rates during stress recovery compared to those who did not. These findings show that smiling during brief periods of stress can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy. So the old adage, grin and bear it, might have some scientific merit after all!
Besides physiological benefits during brief periods of stress, studies have also shown that smiling has benefits in the long-term too. A study conducted in 2009 by a group of researchers in Indiana, USA, found that smile intensity among the subjects predicted a key life outcome – divorce.
The result shows that the greater the degrees of smile in their photos, the more stable the marriage and the lower the likelihood of divorce among subjects. Another photo study performed in 2010 in Michigan, USA, found that smile intensity predicted longevity as well. A group of Major League Baseball players was included in the study of which their photos were studied. Results revealed that those with a full smile lived 7 years longer than those without!
Now with these scientific evidence lending truth to the importance of a smile, we should not underestimate the positive effects of a smile on our well-being.
Having good teeth and gums is crucial for a beautiful smile. Brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly every 6 months to keep your oral health in tip-top condition, so that you can flash your pearlie-whites wherever you are. If you don’t like your smile, talk to your dentist, who can help you do something about it. We are after all, trained professionals to give you that smile you deserve!
Dr. Daylene Leong is a Dental Surgeon with Specialist Dental Group and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. She received her basic dental training at National University of Singapore and advanced training in Periodontology from the University of Michigan, USA. For more information on Dr Leong, click here